Market to Market - June 7, 2024

Market to Market | Episode
Jun 7, 2024 | 27 min

On this edition of Market to Market ...

Young farmers tell the Senate Agriculture committee what action is needed on the Farm Bill. European farmers protest in the streets and then head to the polls. A move by an animal rights group to close the last packing plant in Denver. And, commodity market analysis with Elaine Kub.


Coming up on Market to Market –

Young farmers tell the Senate Agriculture committee what action is needed on the Farm Bill. European farmers protest in the streets and then head to the polls. A move by an animal rights group to close the last packing plant in Denver.

And commodity market analysis with Elaine Kub, next.

What's next doesn't happen by chance. It happens when researchers and farmers work together to solve tomorrow's agronomic challenges. We're committed to creating what's next because at Pioneer, our name is our mission.


Family owned and operated for more than 60 years, Sukup Manufacturing is a full-service provider of grain handling, storage and drying equipment, helping farmers feed and fuel the world.


For over 45 years, Steiner Tractor Parts has shared your love of antique tractors. New parts for old tractors. Learn more at or at 877-559-7887.


Tomorrow. For over 100 years, we have worked to help our customers be ready for tomorrow. Trust in tomorrow. Information is available from a Grinnell Mutual agent today.


This is the Friday, June 7 edition of Market to Market, the Weekly Journal of Rural America.

Hello. I’m Paul Yeager.

Amid news of job layoffs this week in agriculture manufacturing and the tech sector, as a whole, the U.S. economy kept adding new hires.

Employers added 272,000 jobs in May - a gain from April’s pace. Americans appear to be seeking travel and entertainment opportunities as those sectors hired more employees.

The unemployment rate rose to 4 percent - snapping a 27-month streak of being below 4 percent that matched a mark set in the late 1960’s.

Most of the Midwestern supply chain managers polled say economic growth slowed last month. Their sentiment is in the Business Conditions Index from Creighton University. May’s reading was 48.2, which is below the growth neutral reading of 50.

The House Agriculture committee moved their version of the Farm Bill out before the Memorial Day weekend.

The Senate is still doing their work. This week, younger producers gave lawmakers some input on crop insurance and other titles of the next Farm Bill.

Peter Tubbs reports.

This week, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on potential Farm Bill tweaks that could assist beginning farmers at the start of their operations.

Christian Good, Macon, MS: “The lack of meaningful safety net that our current farm bill provides is a real concern for farmers in my community. The farm generally participates in Price Loss Coverage PLC program provided by the USDA Farm Service Agency. Designed to provide a price for that, we receive the statutory reference prices in the 2018 farm Bill are so outdated that I can confidently say that if I were to receive those prices for corn and for soybeans, my farm and my family's farm would be out of business.

Senator Raphael Warnock, D- GA: “How important that base acres to commodity farmers. And why are they more difficult to obtain?”

Christian Good, Macon, MS: “So when you look at title one and title 11, I think they work in tandem, not against each other. I think crop insurance is vitally important. And then I think a, a, a base acre having a strong base acre and reference prices to make that base acre meaningful is really important.”

Tessa Parks, Northfield, MN: “We know that crop insurance is an important risk management tool for many farmers, but it's been difficult to find the right fit for our farm. We've kept records for several years to prepare to purchase a whole farm revenue protection policy, but it still doesn't work for us. The inclusion in Chairwoman Stabenow, his farm bill framework of additional options in the Non Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Now, including through a whole farm concept, is encouraging, but more must be done to ensure all types of farms, especially smaller and more diversified farms, can access affordable crop insurance.

For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs

Claudia Sheinbaum has been elected president of Mexico.

Her background as a research engineer may bring more science into the discussion of the future of imports of white corn for human consumption.

Biotechnology has long been a hot topic in Europe as farmers there were also going to the polls and into the streets.

David Miller has the story.

European Union farmers dissatisfied with the way the EU Parliament has been trying to control agriculture are on their way to the polls this week. Along with the rest of the 27-nation bloc, farmers have been facing a rising cost of living, stricter rules designed to combat climate change, and a never-ending fight against poverty.

In the weeks leading up to the election, EU farmers have been protesting against what they see as government officials imposing rules on what can be grown or how much fertilizer can be used. Many producers also feel EU Parliament Ministers have let them down by failing to stop cheaper imports that undercut their prices or meet the same standards.

Conservatives hope they will come to power and be able to sweep away the current Green Deal climate pact, returning farmers to previous rules that gave them a freer hand on how to use their land.

The far-right Flemish Interest party pushed back in Belgium early in the week against a buyout of forested lands in the area. The ring of woods around Brussels is designed to create a zone that improves biodiversity and fights pollution. Protestors say it means the loss of fertile land due to overbearing environmentalists trying to kill off a traditional way of life.

The election results will be tallied on Sunday after the four day voting window closes.

For Market to Market, I’m David Miller.

California’s Proposition 12, which started as a voter-driven state-level referendum, ultimately affected the pork industry nationwide.

This week at the World Pork Expo, industry leaders reiterated they did get language into the House version of the Farm Bill to get a federal solution on Prop 12 but say the bigger hurdle will be in the Senate.

Denver, Colorado - known for its livestock heritage dating back to the Civil War, is now heading toward a voter-driven referendum that could shut down the city’s last packing plant. And the group pushing for that change says Denver won’t be the last city it targets.

Colleen Bradford Krantz has our Cover Story.

Natalie Fulton, Pro-Animal Future: “Our main goal is to ban factory farming at the state level and in order to build momentum toward that, we’re trying to ban industrialized slaughterhouses in Denver…. We’re a collective movement of voters who care about animals and we are trying to shift the agricultural system away from using animals and toward a more plant-based food system.”

Natalie Fulton is a member of Pro-Animal Future, a group which describes itself as a political movement to end what they call factory farming. They have collected enough signatures to place a measure on Denver’s November 5th ballot that, if approved by more than 50 percent of voters, would prohibit “the construction, maintenance or use of slaughterhouses” in the city as of January 2026.

The only Denver business that would fall under the ban is a lamb packing plant operated by Superior Farms, the largest domestic lamb processor in the nation. The employee-owned Denver plant, which Superior has operated for 40 years, processes about 300,000 lambs a year in the city’s Globeville neighborhood. Rick Stott is Superior Farms President and CEO.

Rick Stott, president/CEO, Superior Farms: “This was an animal group that is very aggressive. Has been picketing our plant on a regular basis… On their website before they took this down, they said ‘Join our movement to end animal farming in Colorado.’ So, their objective is not just to eliminate Superior Farms out of Denver but to eliminate animal production in the state of Colorado and probably beyond.”

Fulton didn’t dispute the statement.

Natalie Fulton, Pro-Animal Future: “We would love to target other counties and exports - and maybe that could be a ballot initiative in the future - but for right now we are starting at the local level in Denver to get the conversation started…. But we have a few cities that are in the works right now. Definitely Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Houston, Ohio. We definitely want to go national with it and our main goal is to ban factory farming at the state level within ten years.”

Stott is concerned about the Denver plant’s 160 employee-owners if the referendum passes.

Rick Stott, president/CEO, Superior Farms: “Not only would they lose their jobs, but they would lose their retirement because they own the company…I mean fully appreciate people’s differing opinions. I mean I appreciate where they are coming from but I guess I appreciate more the 160 employees; their livelihood is dependent on this.’”

 Officials with Pro-Animal Future did include specific language in the measure requiring the city of   Denver to prioritize workforce training and employment assistance for Superior Farms’ employees.

Natalie Fulton, Pro-Animal Future: “It wasn’t as if we were specifically targeting them. We are targeting all industrialized slaughterhouses…We want this all to be very gradual. We don’t think there are going to be any immediate drastic changes from our measures.”

Maureen “Mo” McDonough, a sheep and dairy producer whose farm is about 50 miles from Denver, worries that, if the ballot measure passes, there could be drastic changes in the region.

Maureen “Mo” McDonough, WiMo Farms, Berthoud, Colorado: “I don’t support it. I think that it’s very important, especially as we become more and more urbanized, that small farmers especially like me, and large farmers alike and ranchers, have access to conveniently located processors.”

McDonough says the referendum could lead to other communities banning local meat lockers.

There are only two large capacity plants in Colorado that process sheep, Superior Farms and Colorado Lamb Processors, located 90 miles away in Brush. The two facilities offer Colorado ranchers, who produce 360,000 lambs annually, and producers from many nearby states, a convenient and cost-effective option for marketing their lambs.

Rick Stott, president/CEO, Superior Farms: “We have the second plant in California but there’s no way the great producers of Iowa and North Dakota, South Dakota - we pull over 100,000 lambs out of that region of the country - are going to ship clear to California. It’s not going to happen. What would they do? …I was speaking about this issue in South Dakota a few months ago and a young producer – he couldn’t be maybe low 30s, young family – came up to me and said ‘We’ve got to win this thing. My livelihood is contingent upon that Denver plant being there.’”

McDonough, whose grandfather was a sheep producer, says she used to be a vegetarian before getting some land and starting to raise lambs.

Maureen “Mo” McDonough, WiMo Farms, Berthoud, Colorado: “When I was young, I was idealistic I suppose like a lot of other teenagers …For 18 years, I was on that party bandwagon. As soon as I had land, I thought, ‘Gosh, I could raise animals the right way.’ And then I got more and more involved in the larger agricultural community and realized that all of the different types of farms do have a purpose.”

Fulton says Denver-based Pro-Animal Future respects farmers.

Natalie Fulton, Pro-Animal Future: “We’d like to see more opportunities for farmers to diversify their operations and become more sustainable and profitable. The plant-based food industry is expected to be worth $85 billion by 2030, and food producers are going to need key ingredients like mushrooms, peas, oats and greens.”

McDonough believes that raising livestock, particularly in semi-arid regions of the country, is much better for soil health than vegetable production.

Maureen “Mo” McDonough, WiMo Farms, Berthoud, Colorado: “I do think that it’s very easy for voters especially to get caught up … in the idea of, ‘Oh well, gosh, that sounds like a good idea’ without realizing the impact to those of us that are raising animals…And subsequently what that equates to people in the grocery store is that their prices are going to continue to go up and up as well…Certainly as we get closer to the vote, I think that we are going to see a lot of different agricultural communities looking to Denver… I do think that it will bring some pretty big national attention to this.”

For Market to Market, I’m Colleen Bradford Krantz.

Next, the Market to Market report.

Yeager: A streak of seven consecutive losing days was snapped Thursday on Brazil’s announcement limiting tax credits beneficial to agricultural exports. For the week, the nearby wheat contract plummeted 51 cents and the July corn contract added 3 cents. Soybeans were under the same action as good growing and planting conditions played out over much of the Grain Belt. The July soybean contract lost 26 cents while July meal fell $4 per ton. July cotton shrank by $2.31 per hundredweight. Over in the dairy parlor, July Class Three milk futures decreased 33 cents. The livestock market was lower. August cattle fell $1.27. August feeders cut $1.47. And the August lean hog contract declined $4.82. In the currency markets, the US dollar index added 25 ticks. July crude oil shed $1.61 per barrel. COMEX gold fell $21.30 per ounce. And the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index was off more than eight points, to settle at 569.45.

Yeager: Joining us now is regular Market Analyst Elaine Kub. Hello, Elaine.

Kub: Delighted to be here, Paul.

Yeager: Wheat had been the darling for quite a while.

Kub: Yeah, it had a run.

Yeager: Now it's a tough one, 7%, 51 cents on the week. Technical correction?

Kub: It's a lot of things. I think it's a confluence of factors here. If we rewind right to the beginning of the show when you talk about the good jobs report, for instance, that makes you think that everything is optimistic and great, but not if you're a wheat farmer because the U.S. dollar finally really popped up. And the dollar sort of hasn't been a story for us lately. And on a day-to-day basis it's usually not a big factor for grain prices. But wheat is the most sensitive to that. So, it could be that. It could be weather forecast for Russia this weekend looks a little more wet. Could be Turkey is going to suspend some imports. It could be any number of things. But whatever it takes, those funds had been buying the wheat, as you mentioned, there had been that rally for wheat. So, there was a lot of fund money in there. Anything like that, that spooks them, yeah now is just their opportunity to sell.

Yeager: And then on the spring wheat finally getting in after allowing some planting your neck of the woods and other spots. But then it has been hot in part of the Plains and then rain fall. So, weather is -- but the U.S. story still isn't really a factor, is it?

Kub: No, you could say it is, especially because this is harvest time, so there's another little bearish factor. You're going to have farmers in Texas is about a third harvested, Oklahoma is about a quarter harvested. So as that wheat actually starts to come to market, that is also a pressure on the market domestically.

Yeager: All right, moving forward for the next month, are we in a position where we better take advantage of this rally that is still above $6.49 on close on September? Do I book something?

Kub: I don't know. It's really tempting to gamble because the Russia story is real. If you're going to cut Russian production that much you might be able to ride out some of this volatility that we're seeing here. We haven't really seen much buying come to the U.S. market yet. But if you're in a position to hold onto it yourself, maybe, maybe that's a gamble to take.

Yeager: If corn didn't follow wheat up dramatically higher, it clearly didn't follow it this week. It's the only green on our board. Why did corn withstand this pressure?

Kub: Yeah, corn is a little less sensitive to some of this export story or sort of global story right now. And domestically, if you look ahead to next week, we're going to have not only a new WASDE report, but an FOMC meeting. There's a lot of things that could happen next week to add some volatility to the market. And with regard to the WASDE report, the supply and demand tables that the USDA puts out, this is pretty nitpicky, but if they're going to make changes to those tables next week for corn, those changes are probably likely to be bullish in the demand side for both exports or ethanol. And we're talking pretty minor, pretty mild changes. I wouldn't expect to see a really big reaction, certainly not from the supply side. I think we know that we're looking at a record large crop here in the United States so far. So, it could just be some anticipation of something like that.

Yeager: But on the new crop side, that December contract, we've been stuck $4.45 to $4.70, had that little blip up above. Planting conditions -- it depends on who you read on X or Twitter how good it is or how bad it is for them. What do you see -- I guess the question -- I have seven of them that are kind of the same about weather. But what do you see as weather?

Kub: Well, I mean, not to negate the pragmatic influence of actual planting conditions for folks that are on the ground, but for the markets, the markets don't care. There is no statistical relationship between how fast things get planted in the spring and then the ultimate production in a nationwide level or the ultimate price by harvest. So, don't get bullish based on late planting. Rather I think it's really important for folks to be thinking seasonally. This is the time of year when you see these seasonal highs, when you have some of your best selling opportunities. And maybe they're behind us. Maybe the May 15th high, which it couldn't quite make it to $5, I think if it ever got near $5 again everybody would just sell the heck out of it again, and they should. But even you might not want to wait for that to happen. This is the time of year when we tend to see seasonal highs. We see weird little pockets of volatility with the WASDE report or with the three-day Juneteenth -- that's not going to be a three-day holiday this year -- but that trading holiday. This is just the time of the year when you see some opportunities and it's really important to get some sales made.

Yeager: I guess we'll talk about it in Market Plus, but that whole Mother's Day to Father's Day scenario, we'll see how that one goes. I need to move to beans and the old crop story continues to be, it looks like, still nobody from China is buying old crop, let alone new crop. What do you see in the old crop story right now as the big headline?

Kub: Yeah, the disappointing export sales this week I think that was the theme here towards the end of the week. But domestically things are fine. I don't think the market is going to fall apart because the crush spreads are good. There are certainly useful applications for this product. I don't think it's going to fall apart. But right now, the traders I think were trading based on disappointing exports.

Yeager: We do have a question about weather and some export issues. This one is from John in North Dakota. Thank you, John, for submitting this question. Drier weather is in the forecast, opens up the opportunity to finish soybean planting in the Northern Plains, combined with slow Chinese purchases of new crop soybeans. How low will soybean prices trend?

Kub: I don't know how low soybean prices will trend. And I think yes, it's very positive for folks that are still trying to finish up planting, that this active weather pattern that we've been seeing will slow down a little bit. But there's also rumblings of concern about dry weather farther into the summer, into June and July, but I just want to say, again, don't get too bulled up about that. That is pretty far away. If you've ever watched the local news, the weather forecast is barely reliable seven days out. I don't think that we should be trading bullishly based on a July forecast yet.

Yeager: Can you at least agree that beans might be headed lower?

Kub: Yes, it could go up, down or sideways, Paul. Yes, but I think fundamentally they are fairly well supported. I don't think they're going to fall out of bed.

Yeager: In the livestock market, live cattle have been dealing with lots of stories. But does it go back to the very first thing you said on the dollar now?

Kub: Yeah, on a day-to-day basis I think so, yes. And it's just really hard to get -- exports -- there is a very fundamental reason why the beef market and the live cattle market should perhaps trade according to the dollar because it is dependent on the export prospects more so than it was three years ago, five years ago or ten years ago. So, that makes a certain amount of sense. Sure.

Yeager: Do you buy that packers are in impatient mode in buying and that is maybe why we've seen a little fall?

Kub: I think it just will struggle to be able to move much higher than it is. It's a very well supported market. Everybody knows the scarcity of cattle in this country and nothing about that has changed. But when you see the beef prices themselves, so the choice boxed beef prices, they just cannot really get above $315. And they've tried it several times since last August. And any time that it gets too expensive, we just start to import beef. So, there's just really a pretty firm top on the beef market and that will keep a top on live cattle too.

Yeager: What about in feeders? Some of the same things you're talking about, but feeders I think gap lower on Thursday --

Kub: The futures did.

Yeager: The futures did. And that has been a whole different thing than the cash here lately.

Kub: Exactly. So, I was going to say, it makes it really difficult if you're using that futures market or the LRP market to be hedging. But as far as folks who are actually bringing calves to a sale barn out in the countryside these days, that CME Index has been fairly steady and possibly even higher lately up to about $250.

Yeager: Then we get to the hog market where we are down at major support levels. Can you turn that frown upside down?

Kub: I can make sort of the same story that I said about the feeder cattle is it's kind of a futures story. Futures have really fallen apart, but they really have only come down that hard this week I think to bring themselves into convergence with the actual prices being paid for lean hogs, which has been stable. So, as far as actual cash hogs being bought by packers, that has been pretty stable.

Yeager: The chart that we just showed while you were talking is a dramatic off the table. That has to send some heartbeats a flutter for those that are trying to find some market for their product, right?

Kub: Yeah, or for futures trading. And I think it's possibly the funds or algorithms, just anything that, again, is disappointed about export news for the pork market lately. They could trade that this week and get that volatility in the futures. But fortunately, the real market is holding in there.

Yeager: And the real story is we are out of time.

Kub: Sounds good.

Yeager: Good to see you, Elaine.

Kub: Thanks, Paul.

Yeager: Thank you so very much. We are going to pause this Analysis and continue our discussion about these markets in our Market Plus segment. You can find both Analysis and Plus on our website of Summer school is always in session here on the program as our Classroom section of our site is ready for the study of commodities, science and technology, along with new markets. Head over to Next week, making a profit taking vegetables from local gardens to local forks. Thank you so much for watching. Have a great week.




Market to Market is a production of Iowa PBS, which is solely responsible for its content.


What's next doesn't happen by chance. It happens when researchers and farmers work together to solve tomorrow's agronomic challenges. We're committed to creating what's next because at Pioneer, our name is our mission.


Family owned and operated for more than 60 years, Sukup Manufacturing is a full-service provider of grain handling, storage and drying equipment, helping farmers feed and fuel the world.


For over 45 years, Steiner Tractor Parts has shared your love of antique tractors. New parts for old tractors. Learn more at or at 877-559-7887.


Tomorrow. For over 100 years, we have worked to help our customers be ready for tomorrow. Trust in tomorrow. Information is available from a Grinnell Mutual agent today.


Trading in futures and options involves substantial risk. No warranty is given or implied by Iowa PBS or the analysts who appear on Market to Market. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.